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Tesco sets out improvements to customer experience as it unveils first-half figures

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Tesco today set out what it was doing to improve its customers’ experience across sales channels, as it reported a rise in sales but a 28% drop in pre-tax profits.

The supermarket, a Leading retailer in IRUK Top500 research, is working towards a strategy of improving the customer offer while creating long-term, sustainable shareholder value.

Today it said that in-store it was adding new customer service desks and changing its trading hours. It has also added 3,000 customer-facing staff since February 2016. It is focusing on its core business, and has accordingly sold the Giraffe, Dobbies and Harris + Hoole businesses, agreeing the sale of Euphorium. Behind the scenes it is cutting £1.5bn in operating costs, including through making its distribution system “more efficient and responsive” while also simplifying its store operating model.

It said changes to its online service to make it more sustainable had led to a planned “moderating” in the rate of growth in ecommerce sales. Those changes have included the introduction of charges for fulfillment services, such as click and collect, that were previously free. It has also improved the level of service through the introduction of services such as same-day click and collect.

The update came as Tesco reported group sales of £24.4bn in the six months to , 3.3% up on the same time last year. In the UK, like-for-like sales, which strip out the effect of store openings and closures, as well as the acquisition or disposal of businesses, grew by 0.6%, while group like-for-likes, including its international businesses, rose by 1%. The figure it’s required to report include statutory revenue of £27.3bn, 1.4% up on the the same time last year, and pre-tax profits of £71m, 28.3% down on last time.

Chief executive Dave Lewis said: “We have made further strong progress in the first half, with positive like-for-like sales growth across all parts of the group as we re-invest in our customer offer whilst rebuilding profitability in a sustainable way.

“The entire Tesco team is focused on serving shoppers a little better every day. We are more competitive across our offer. Prices are more than 6% lower than two years ago, availability and service have never been better and our range is more compelling. Our new fresh food brands are performing ahead of expectations, improving our value proposition and further removing reasons for customers to shop elsewhere.

“Whilst the market is uncertain, we have made significant progress against the priorities we set out two years ago, stabilising the business and positioning us well for the future. Today, we are sharing the plans we have in place to become even more competitive for our customers, even simpler for colleagues and an even better partner for our suppliers, whilst creating long-term, sustainable value for our shareholders.”

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